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Organize Kids' Paperwork

Better's organizing expert Ellen Damaschino shows us what to do with your kids art and paper work from school.

Thu, 5 Aug 2010|

It's the end of the school year. What is all this stuff, Ellen? This is your son's backpack. What is all this? I have no idea. It's been hiding in there all year long. So, this is the thing. It's the end of the school year and you have to do this now. Go through all of this stuff, don't just stick it in a paper bag and put it in the closet. So, I'm gonna show you how to do it. They've got all kinds of stuff. They've got artwork, they've got paperwork, how do you know what to keep, what to toss. That's a really tough one. One of the rules that I use is what is special. For example, when your kids bring home their artwork, this is a class project, obviously. Everybody cut out the snowman, everybody painted it. This isn't worth keeping. Okay. But this is. It's a portrait. It's them. Does it show your kid? Is it a story that's really special? Does it say something about them? That's how you keep it, because you can't keep everything. Your kid is gonna have a half a house full of stuff by the time they get out of the house. So, don't do that to them. You need to really weed through it now and make those decisions. Do you involve them in this process? Absolutely. A lot of times, kids come home with really big art portfolios like this. Put all the art out on the floor, let them decide what they wanna keep. They're learning organizing skill, and that's a really good process to teach them now. Okay. And then once you have decided what you are going to keep, how do you store it? There's a couple ideas that I have. So, first of all, you can have an art portfolio like this that's permanent to fit all the flat arts, but I highly recommend to actually use the art that your kids have and frame it and hang it in their room. What a great idea. Because they really are proud of what they've done and you should be, too. And use some really good piece of art that your children can do, and have them pick, so they can hang it in their room every year. Now, you do that one year then what happens the next year? I mean, do you have a whole wall of art or do you switch it out? You can switch it out or you can make a whole wall of art if you have the room, but not all art is flat, so sometimes you get projects like these. They'll get some kind of clay project, whatever you have like that, so what you wanna do is, (a) you wanna either-- Here you can hold that. Okay. Hang it on the wall, or I really highly recommend getting some kind of flat box like this, this is acid free with tissue paper and you can store it in there so all of the 3-dimensional objects that they bring home can be fit in the box. Okay. As well. Now, you're getting rid of everything from this year. How do you prepare for next year? Okay. What you wanna do is, here, we made this at the beginning of the year with all of the files from the beginning of the year that they had, all that school information that you need, their lunch schedule, now's the time to clean it out. You no longer need it, this is 2008-2009, bye bye. Okay? Recycle. Old permission slips, bye bye. Bye. Save the dates, bye bye. Permission slips, bye bye. The things that you do wanna keep are for example classes that they may be taking this summer. You wanna keep their summer stuff or, for example, maybe you want them to have camps that they're going to this summer. Okay. Those are the types of things that you wanna keep, but this should virtually be empty because what you wanna do is start clean for the next year. All this information is gone. You've kept it, you've gone through the school year, you don't need it. I've gotta tell you, this process feels good, too, when you just dump, dump, and dump, this is going in. I think I'm taking that whole backpack and dumping it out. So, start clean, do it now because all that paperwork is gonna come in again in the fall, and you wanna be ready and prepared, all the things that you love are packed away, the kids' art is hung, and your file is empty. And you're ready for next year. That's right. Thanks, Ellen.